Drought, extreme heat, tornado, severe winter-storm, air-transportation incident, structural failure, structural fire or highway-transport incident.
These are just a few of the natural or man-made hazards that could affect Clarke County.
During a hazard-mitigation plan meeting Oct. 10 at American State Bank in Osceola, officials representing various city and county jurisdictions were asked to identify and evaluate a list of 40 potential hazards that could affect Clarke County.
Clarke County Emergency Management applied and received a grant from the state of Iowa for development of a FEMA-approved hazard-mitigation plan.
This month’s meeting was the second planning meeting held this year. Approximately 13 people were in attendance. A kick-off meeting for the plan was held in July.
“When this project is completed, it will be an update to your past plan that will last the next five years and make you eligible for various hazard-mitigation project grants, which obviously, grants are nice. We like to get those,” said Jeremy Rounds, regional planner for Southern Iowa Council of Governments (SICOG). “They’re helpful for various types of hazard-mitigation projects that you may want to do in the future.”
SICOG has been hired by Clarke County to assist in the update of the county’s hazard-mitigation plan.
During the meeting, it was stressed that all city and county jurisdictions invited to participate must be involved in the planning processs in order to be eligible for potentially lucrative FEMA project grants.
Rounds gave the examples of tornado-safety rooms and storm-sewer projects that could be applied for.
The hazard-mitigation plan project is currently in phase two of four phases.
“We’re going to be doing hazard analysis and risk assessment,” Rounds said. “Identifying the hazards goes into that, and eventually, we’ll be developing a mitigation strategy from the information we collect, and the implementation process.”
While discussing the 40 potential hazard situations, a participant said any of the hazards could be possible in Clarke County.
“We’re going to develop a matrix to come back to the next meeting and say, ‘OK, this is kind of how these are scored for the various jurisdictions, and then we’re going to go in to what is called the hazard profile,” Rounds said. “That’s where we start to gather specific information about these hazard events and how often they occur, and try to give them a scoring system or a rating system.”
Rounds said, by the end of next year, he’s hoping to have a completed plan ready to submit for FEMA approval. The county’s current hazard-mitigation plan that is in place will be good up until that time.
“Keep in mind,” Rounds said, “because your county has a plan that’s in place, and we’re working on updating it, as long as you have that plan in place your jurisdictions — schools, cities, county — different groups and organizations can apply for FEMA funding, even at this time, to do various types of hazard-mitigation projects.”